Jason Ortiz joins us in a two part discussion. First he shares what’s going on in Puerto Rico with his family and generally but he does it third hand as communications systems aren’t up. His information is from relatives of relatives who are taking days at a time to get between cities and relaying information back to family off of the island through what does work in San Juan. He provides a few suggestions of what to do if you feel like doing something. And he shares a potential timeline of recovery. In the second part of the conversation, which actually was recorded first, Jason takes us through cannabis in Puerto Rico. We discuss education and debt and generally try to get a sense of what is possible on and for the island.
Joshua Laterman joins us and shares that the new National Association of Cannabis Businesses see themselves as a self regulatory organization for cannabis. Joshua notes that the mission of the organization is to safeguard the survival of members through the voluntary adoption of standards. The team comes from regulatory background. The play is to the executive branch of government and the team has federal experience- a former federal prosecutor, a former chief of staff in the DEA, former white house counsel. The team also has cannabis folks on board including past guests Ean Seeb and Adam Orens. And for folks in the space who are wondering, the NACB is participating on the NCIA policy committee.
Charlie Rutherford joins us for a third installment of Political Discourse. Please go back and listen to the first two which are episodes 232 and 264 as well as Charlie’s personal history in Episode 13 if you’ve not yet had the opportunity. Charlie considers himself conservative if not a libertarian and I like to say I come from the left and try to be in the middle. Through those lenses, we discuss healthcare, immigration, the Paris climate accord, America’s role in global affairs, and tax reform vs. tax cuts, free speech, and of course cannabis. In effect, this is two people simply discussing policy from alternative points of view without yelling at each other.
Heather Jackson returns and takes us through the Realm of Caring registry which is one of only three like it in the world. And in one of three Realm of Caring associated studies, past Cannabis Economy guest Ryan Vandrey is researching patients in the registry to provide further information on how the plant affects conditions by testing with vs. without the plant. And they’re going as far as providing information on the economic impact of choosing cannabis as a solution. Heather provides an overview of what’s happening at Realm of Caring now- and how they’re call center, which they call their care center is providing refined feedback to families that need it.
The long time industry activist and advocate and brand new Executive Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, Lindsay Robinson shares that when she was still with the MPP, she joined the board of CCIA. After a year and a half, once her work with MPP was wrapped up and as former ED and guest Nate Bradley moved into full-time lobbying, Lindsay came on as ED. She learned her advocacy skills from her mother As a kid, Lindsey stuffed envelopes, picketed and protested. She readily admits to her formative years being about bucking authority, causing mischief and sass talking, a lot of sass talking. And now the industry is happy to have her doing just that on it’s behalf.
Joining us from her mother's house in Wisconsin, Julie Dooley returns and Chickie her mother does join us at a few points throughout the discussion. As a reminder, Julie was diagnosed with celiac disease and cannabis was suggested to her as a solution. She did take cannabis and it immediately helped her with diet as well as pain management. She also had a friend in need and they both then created a company producing healthy cannabis snacks. But that was nearly a decade ago. Eight years later Julie realizes that the past has served as R&D. She’s now set to expand into multiple states. But it’s not anywhere close to easy. Julie takes us through a true understanding of what it means to be in cannabis business for yourself in 2017.
From an undisclosed location in Toronto, we have a casual conversation with Max Zavet, the CEO of a publicly traded licensed producer in Canada. As an introduction, he discusses the Emblem logo which features Artemis the greek goddess of nature, but we move into a conversation about the licensed producer community in Canada and how Max and his partners were early entrants into legal cannabis- they were the 15th group. Max explains how back in 2012 he was reading press releases on how the government was considering changing from a grow your own system- the MMAR- to the more tightly controlled and regulated system we have today the MMPR. He was dead set on being involved, and he found a way to do just that.
Diane Russell joins us via FaceTime and takes us through why she’s running for Governor in the great state of Maine. Last summer she led the fight to take on the super delegate system in the democratic party to which Bernie Sanders took notice and asked Diane to speak on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Diane's political journey began during a ME energy crisis when she was able to affect change through cap and trade legislation. Diane also brought change through rank choice or run off. As she runs for Governor, she’s focused on Medicaid for all Mainers which is necessary due to neighboring Canadian universal healthcare competition. Oh yeah, and she introduced an early bill to legalize adult-use cannabis and helped get it on the 2016 ballot.
A cowboy at heart, Steve Trenk joins us from the Upper East Side of Manhattan although he spends most of his time in Arizona. Steve is an entrepreneur which it turns out is genetic. He started companies in the healthcare and aviation industries and learned impactful lessons that he brings forward to his cannabis investments. He also brings his love for animals and wide open spaces to the industry in that when asked for tips on riding a horse- his advice is that staying on is always key. But the real key Steve says is picking the right horse. He’s been an angel investor in the space for a number of years. He notes that it’s not often that you find a horse that you get along with, that you communicate with and that you feel safe on- but he’s got a couple.
New York State Senator Diane Savino joins us and share her thoughts on the New York Cannabis program. Her thoughts are, it’s going. She notes that it had a slow start but that it was designed be tightly controlled and highly regulated and that it’s lived up to that reputation. Regarding the Department of Health and the Commissioner of Health- Diane shares that they’ve been very responsive to changes as changes have been proposed because they recognize this is a health issue. She doesn’t pull punches- could more be done, absolutely- her biggest concern continues to be lack of participation among doctors. It’s not possible to visit every doctor in the state and convincing each efficacy of medical cannabis. So to that end, no matter where you live, consider this a public service announcement to tell your doctor about medical cannabis.
Two time Super Bowl champion and organ donor Leonard Marshall returns to share his thinking behind donating his brain to CTE research. He says that he thought about the lives that could change and he thought about his father. He says he wanted to do something with his own life that his father couldn’t do with his. Leonard shares that he is a child of segregation and that he initially could not use the same bathroom or play in the same playground as white people in the south. And so, he’s interested in making a difference not based on his race, color, creed or nation of origin but make a difference as a man and empower the will of parents on their children to open up a mindset around traumatic brain injury and head trauma.
A PhD in the field of physiotherapeutics, Stuart Titus joins us and shares his experience treating patients as he says more in the British style than the US style of therapy. He continues, here in the US if you need surgery, you’ll be in the operating room tomorrow morning. But in other countries it’s as much as an 18 month wait so you have to do a lot to keep a patient comfortable and under control until they can get into the operating room. Stu shares that athletes and professional sports teams utilize this type of therapy. Athletes would come into his office in the offseason and that’s where he found out about cannabis. His patients were using cannabis to control pain, reduce inflammation and help with sleep issues- and he was intrigued.
Mother of Charlotte’s Web inspiration Charlotte Figi, Page Figi returns to share the latest on the Cannabodial bills the Coalition for Access Now has in both the House & the Senate. We review her experience with CBD as it related to Charlotte’s seizures. We discuss the alternative bill in the Senate which would reschedule not deschedule CBD as Paige’s bill does. And we discuss what YOU can do NOW to aid the bill to passage by taking action and connecting with your elected officials who work for you. Finally, we talk about your patient and business CBD options in a forecasted rescheduled world but we also take the opportunity for Paige to share red flags and dog whistles to look and listen for when evaluating current CBD offerings.
Celebrated Author, Paco Underhill joins us to share that when he was doing research for commercial zoning issues for cities on the roof of the SeaFirst Bank building in Seattle he had an epiphany. He would do for merchants of any kind what he was doing for cities- helping them understand what customers were doing in their respective establishments and sharing what the merchants could do to improve their customer's experience. He literally wrote the book on it- “Why We Buy,” which came from an article that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about Paco for the New Yorker. Paco discusses how he goes about helping merchants providing some insight on what drives customers and how that’s changed over the years. And finally, we discuss his passion which is helping with homelessness through Urban Pathways.
Charles Jones joins us and shares that a fellow parent had called him concerned that her son was using marijuana and asked him if it was safe. He did some research and found how many cannabinoids there were, how they interacted with one another and emerged from his research with an understanding that by combining cannabinoids and terpenes in the right ratios, could create a broad range of psychoactive substances which could treat everything from insomnia to pain to improving creativity. He realized that an extremely wide range of effects could be found in this one plant. Which led him to the conclusion that cannabis isn't a drug so much as a drug development platform which much safer than opioid alternatives.
Yet another military veteran in the cannabis industry, Guy Rocourt joins us and shares that he joined the military in the 90’s which led him to unique thoughts about the service. All in all, as opposed to being a risk taker, Guy's thinking as to why military veterans are in cannabis is that when you’re in the military you’re taught to abide by the constitution, which by the way, says nothing about cannabis. Guy says that when you’re enlisted you abide by the uniform code of military justice which is much more structured in regards to your rights and responsibilities. And so as a military veteran he doesn’t understand why cannabis is illegal- it does not compute. And in addition to that, military veterans gravitate towards industries that need change.
Mark Grindeland joins us and takes us through his history in advertising. He had a management consulting firm which led him to Digitas. He says he turned Digitas into the McKinsey of advertising. Back in the day he had codified his IP in building one of the first ERP CRM platforms, took that public and hit a billion dollar market cap. From Digitas he was recruited to Y&R who wanted to become a global version of digitas. After dabbling in M&A, he was moved into the CEO EMEA role. Which brought him back to the same place he was bootstrapping with Digitas a year earlier. This time, with 21 countries, 36 offices, 2K employees and 180M in revenue. This is the experience and more that Mark brings to cannabis.
Recorded back in June at NCIA in Oakland, Emily and Morgan Paxhia return to share their thoughts on cannabis investment. Emily deciphers what’s investible in that she’s simply looking for a sober approach from entrepreneurs with humility and an understanding of regulations and the true challenges of the unique cannabis industry. Morgan shares that he’s looking for how business are approaching the cost of acquisition for each customer. He notes that in a fragmented market that’s truly still very young- new companies still have to break through one customer at a time. Emily goes on to give tips to each kind of cannabis business and both discuss how best to optimize the investor/entrepreneur relationship. Thanks to Gateway & Treatibles for supporting the episode. Go to Pitch to Ben on Twitter to engage with Gateway & Treatibles.com for a 10% discount on CBD for your pet.
John Vardaman joins us and discusses his involvement in the release of the the third Cole memo and FinCen Guidance which supported the initial memos which of course laid out guidance from DOJ to state attorney’s general. John lays out that Justice and Treasury still needed to deal with the fact that based on the Controlled Substances Act, the monies generated from state legal cannabis were (and still are) considered criminal proceeds based on federal money laundering and bank secrecy act laws aided of course with a Patriot Act kicker. Which John actually has experience with as he began his career in government just weeks before 9/11 and explains that his job following that day was following the money- something he also had to do on the ground in Iraq. Thanks to Boveda & MCBA for supporting the episode.
Former soldier, governor and wrestler Jesse Ventura says that cannabis gave him his life back- without it he says he wouldn’t have a quality of life today. Someone close to him developed an epileptic seizure disorder. After being treated with drugs that didn’t work, they went to Colorado found cannabis and found a solution. Now that that person is seizure free, Jesse says both of them have their lives back. He’s always been a supporter of legalization and although he’s been in the military and was a former professional athlete who could come to cannabis through CTE or PTSD, it was dealing with epilepsy as a caregiver that was the catalyst for him to be active in cannabis. As a former Gov, Jesse adds that cannabis tax dollars are real dollars for any state budget.
Washington State and Noelle Skodzinksi have July 1st, 2014 in common as a start date in cannabis. Inspired by the poet/novelist James Dickey, Noelle went to school to be a journalist and found her way into PR before finding a job in journalism down the line. After moving to Philadelphia, Noelle held down three jobs to pay the rent and keep writing. She waited tables and truly learned how to deal with people in that environment- an insight she brings forward to her work today. She parlayed her initial job as a writer into landing a job as an editor for high end magazine which focused on craftspeople like blacksmiths, glass blowers. So she was already used to dealing with folks that were unto themselves- which is why the cannabis industry made sense to her when she found it.